testing trainings — a comparison

In the past month, I’ve done two train­ings on soft­ware test­ing: ASTQB’s Mobile Foun­da­tions course, and Sat­is­fice’s Rapid Soft­ware Test­ing Applied course. The dif­fer­ence between them was marked.

Like the SQE train­ing I reviewed ear­li­er and sub­se­quent ISTQB test for the Cer­ti­fied Tester, Foun­da­tion Lev­el, the mobile course was heavy on vocab­u­lary and “best prac­tices” and light on how to do a good job. It gave me things to think about, such as using sim­u­la­tors and emu­la­tors to increase cov­er­age and get­ting cell data on some of our phones so our test­ing can be more real-life and more, well, mobile. But when it came down to it, a lot of the class was about the dif­fer­ences between web-based, native, and hybrid apps, and the risks involved in test­ing them. Look­ing at the risks that are inher­ent to the dif­fer­ent types of apps was use­ful, but three days of vocab­u­lary became a lit­tle weari­some. The test, which I took about a week and a half lat­er, went just fine. It includ­ed a deci­sion table, which took me by sur­prise, but the test was­n’t a big deal with a lit­tle bit of care­ful read­ing. I don’t have much more to say about the train­ing or the test. I was­n’t plan­ning on doing either, but then a spot was offered to me, so… it was fine.

The train­ing that I was real­ly excit­ed about, and that total­ly lived up to my expec­ta­tions, was James Bach’s Rapid Soft­ware Test­ing Applied. We test­ed a vec­tor graph­ics pro­gram called Inkscape, approach­ing it from some dif­fer­ent angles. Each day was a com­bi­na­tion of lec­ture, individual/team work, and review of that work. Some guys from anoth­er Utah com­pa­ny invit­ed me to join their team, so I talked with them through­out the day and worked with them on the assign­ments. We talked about san­i­ty test­ing, sur­vey test­ing, risk analy­sis, cov­er­age, deep test­ing, test­ing with tools, and how to report test­ing. It was a fas­ci­nat­ing class, though I did receive crit­i­cism, both pri­vate­ly and then pub­licly the next morn­ing, for some of my bug reports. (I still need to check with my devel­op­ers to see if they’re annoyed by my report­ing.) My ego was a lit­tle bruised, but I know he was try­ing to make me a bet­ter tester, and in the end, I appre­ci­at­ed (that might be too strong of a word) the crit­i­cism. This train­ing brought out all my inse­cu­ri­ties, par­tic­u­lar­ly those sur­round­ing tools, but I was also pleased to have some of my thoughts about test­ing affirmed. James Bach is some­thing of an icon in soft­ware test­ing, and I real­ly enjoyed learn­ing from him. I’d like to take anoth­er RSTA class, as well as his lec­ture class of Rapid Soft­ware Test­ing.

It’s pos­si­ble I was just way more excit­ed for RSTA, but I felt like I got more out of it as well. I real­ly appre­ci­at­ed my com­pa­ny let­ting me do these train­ings, par­tic­u­lar­ly as they came so close togeth­er. I’m hop­ing to con­vince them to bring James Bach to Utah — that would just be fan­tas­tic.